Scientists extract the sharpest image of a black hole yet

Black holes are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, but we had never seen one until the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team. published his first picture It returned in 2019. Now EHT Cooperation released the most more detailed picture The same black hole M87, created in 2018 with the help of an additional telescope and independent data, better demonstrates the crazy physics behind these supermassive objects.

The first image was captured in 2017 using eight high-altitude telescopes, including those in Chile and Antarctica (data processing takes a long time). The complex technique required the synchronization of atomic clocks, the use of the Earth’s rotation, and the processing of petabytes of data from the RAW telescope. The result was somewhat fuzzy, but clearly showed the expected “doughnut” with a black hole at the center and an accretion disk of material inhaled from nearby stars.

However, the EHT collaboration took another picture a year later using an additional telescope in Greenland. According to the EHT, this “significantly” improved image accuracy, particularly in the north-south direction. One of the original platforms, the Large Millimeter Telescope, also gained sensitivity using its full 50-meter surface for the first time. The teams also introduced new data analysis techniques that improved accuracy.

The result is a sharper and brighter image that shows clearly Doppler/Einstein effects that make a black hole appear on the one hand, it is brighter. That bright spot actually shifted to the right between the two pictures taken.

Taiwan’s ASIAA Dr. “The biggest change is the change in peak brightness around the rim, which is actually something we predicted when we published the first results in 2019,” Britt Jeter said. “Although general relativity says that the size of the ring should remain fairly constant, emission from the turbulent, mixed accretion disk around the black hole will cause the brightest part of the ring to wobble around the common center. The amount of wobble we see over time can be used to test our theories for the magnetic field and plasma environment around the black hole. something we can do.

The new image also shows that the science behind the imaging technique is sound and reproducible. ASIAA’s Dr Keiichi Asada said: “The confirmation of the ring in a completely new data set is a huge milestone for our collaboration and a strong indication that we are looking at the shadow of the black hole and the material orbiting around it.”

The EHT Collaboration will continue to advance the science with new observations scheduled for the first half of 2024. Then scientists hope to take many pictures to create the first “video” of the black hole to show its chaotic motions. As before, it can take several years (and participation many scholars) to obtain the final result.

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